The second day of the World Grand Prix sees the opening round of the tournament continuing on a day where we have eight matches taking place inside the Morningside Arena in Leicester with plenty of big names on show.
We saw Judd Trump and Mark Selby battle through on the opening night of the tournament and the likes of Mark Williams, John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan will be looking to join them throughout the course of Tuesday.
We start off with a crackerjack of a first round game between two of the best in the modern game as Shaun Murphy looks to put his loss in The Masters semi-final behind him when he takes on a John Higgins who you sense is desperate for his form to result in silverware. When they are done we will see how Ali Carter has reacted to his defeat in the final at Alexandra Palace when he is on the main table to take on the potentially dangerous Wu Yize.
The schedule is a banging one all day on Tuesday, so much so that the action on table two should be very good as well. It begins with one of our outright bets, Stephen Maguire, on show. He goes up against the classy Zhou Yuelong for a place in the second round. When they are done the Scottish Open champion Gary Wilson is back in action. He will be looking to make progress but he faces a tricky test against a Dave Gilbert whose action is so good he should always be contending for events.
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We have two members of the Class of 92 on show on the main table in the evening session and we begin with the British Open winner Mark Williams, who starts his quest for successive ITV ranking event titles when he faces the extremely watchable Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. When they are done The Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will be back on the baize. All eyes will be on him to see how motivated he is for this tournament when he goes up against Pang Junxu who is no respecter of reputation.
Over on table two the action should be pretty competitive as well. Tom Ford is the local man so he should draw a decent crowd to this side of the arena. He meets Jordan Brown in what is a repeat of the International Championship semi-final from earlier in the season. Such is the strength of the main table action, Barry Hawkins only gets a spot on table two even though he won the European Masters earlier in the season. Cao Yupeng will be hoping to take advantage of the attention being elsewhere to pull off an upset.
I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of the afternoon with the first of those coming in the form of Gary Wilson to beat Dave Gilbert. I’m a little surprised that Wilson is the outsider for this match given that he won the last ranking event of 2023 but I’m happy to take it. This is likely to be a close match because there isn’t a lot between these two but two differences could be that in the Scottish Open, while Wilson was winning the tournament, Gilbert lost from 3-0 up to Kyren Wilson and those kind of things can linger. The other thing I like with Wilson is he played the first two weeks of the Championship League so he will be competitively sharper as well so I’ll go with the more confident Wilson here.
All eyes will be on Ronnie O’Sullivan to see how much effort he puts into this event but he made it clear that he is going to have a break after this event. We saw at The Masters how early on the competition he went for absolutely everything and if he is doing that there I would expect him to do it here and if it doesn’t come off he could be vulnerable to a Pang Junxu who kept O’Sullivan honest on debut at the Crucible last season, losing 10-7 in the first round, before taking the Rocket to a deciding frame in Wuhan earlier in the campaign. Pang doesn’t look like someone who is overawed when he takes on O’Sullivan and if the chances come readily I’ll back him to take three of them and force a decider although I wouldn’t be completely surprised if he gets over the line but just in case O’Sullivan takes a decider more seriously I’ll take the Chinese player with the 1.5 frame start.
Back G.Wilson to beat D.Gilbert for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with William Hill
Back him here:
Back P.Junxu (+1.5 frames) to beat R.O’Sullivan for a 3/10 stake at 2.38 with Betfred